The report (Mobile Operator Business Models: Challenges, Opportunities and Strategies 2017-2021) reached its conclusions by analysing the scale of operator traffic decline together with the uptake of OTT VoIP and message services. The research pointed out that the success of several platforms had substantially impacted on operator margins, with WhatsApp alone now generating nearly three times as much daily traffic as SMS.
Furthermore, with most leading OTT messaging platforms now incorporating or trialling multiple communication options, including group voice or video chat, operators would see continued erosion of traffic levels in the future.
However, the research highlighted a number of measures that operators could introduce both to arrest the decline in core revenues and to develop new sources of income.
These include big data and analytics packages for both consumer and IoT (Internet of Things) devices, carrier billing payment options, mobile money services, and mobile identity services.
The report also argued that with mobile increasingly deployed within the context of a quad-play offering, it was essential for telcos to provide consumers with attractive, original content to differentiate themselves from the competition. According to research author Dr Windsor Holden, "With mobile devices now regularly used for primary consumption of video content as well as snacking, operators providing popular film, drama and exclusive sports events over multiple channels are at a distinct advantage."